March 30, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – For the first time since February 18, 2001 the Florida Gators came into Dick Howser stadium and left victorious. Seventh-ranked Florida (20-7) got strong pitching from Stephen Locke (4-0) and used a four-run outburst in the second inning to get by the home-standing Seminoles (27-6) 9-2. The sixth-ranked Seminoles stranded 12 runners compared to five for the Gators. It was the first road win for either team in the last seven meetings as FSU starter Hunter Jones (4-1) suffered his first loss of the season.
“Give credit to Florida they are a very good club. There is just no two ways about it,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “I can see how they won series versus South Carolina and Miami. That is a solid ball club. They got outstanding pitching tonight. Their catcher is exceptional. They have experience on the field. They just have a very good looking baseball team.”
The bright spot of the night for Florida State was the continued dominance of outfielder Shane Robinson. The sophomore extended his hitting streak to 38 games as he went 3-for-5 on the night with his 17th double of the season. This season Robinson has recorded 12 one-hit games, 10 two-hit games and 11 three-hit games.
“It felt great to get the hit and have the home crowd stand up and cheer for me but I am disappointed with the game and not getting the win,” said Robinson. “Coming into tonight I thought we needed to score early and get up on them but they came out and did just that. They scored four runs and got us back on our heels. We couldn’t capitalize when we had runners on and they did.”
After giving up a single to the first batter of the game, Jones got out of the inning on a sac and back-to-back strikeouts. The second inning didn’t start much better with a walk and then a double putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Stephen Barton followed with a two-RBI single to put the Gators in front 2-0. A single and error loaded the bases up with just one away and UF’s fourth single of the inning made it a 3-0 game before sac fly extended the lead to 4-0.
Robinson extended his hitting streak in the next inning for the fourth time during the 38 games but he was thrown out at second ending his run of 26 consecutive stolen bases.
The Seminoles threatened in the next inning though as Aaron Cheesman and Brant Peacher recorded back-to-back, one out singles to put runners on first and second. The Seminoles rally was stymied due to bad luck when Ryne Malone singled through the right side hitting Peacher as he was heading to second. The interference sent Cheesman, who scored, back to second and gave UF its second out of the inning. The Gators would go on to get out of the frame with no damage.
“It was one of those unusual things that happen in baseball,” said Martin. “You don’t see it happen much. We had three hits and all of a sudden you have a couple of outs with runners on first and second. It is just something you have to learn to roll through.”
In the top of the fifth UF went back to work and it was the long ball that hurt FSU. Justin Tordi hit a three run homer, his second of the year, putting Florida in front 7-0.
With the Gators up 9-0 in the bottom of the sixth, FSU broke up the shutout with a two out rally. The Seminoles strung together three straight base hits to load the bases and a balk by new pitcher Connor Falkenbach made it a 9-1 game.
Tony Thomas, Jr. got into scoring position in the seventh thanks to his team-leading fourth triple of the year. Robinson then drove him home with an infield single marking his 21st multi-hit game of the season but that was as close as FSU was able to get.
Florida State will resume ACC play when Clemson comes to Tallahassee over the weekend. Saturday Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium will be dedicated. A ceremony in the legendary coach’s honor will begin at approximately 7:00 p.m. Game Tracker will be available for all the contest along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.